Permalink to Four Years of Obama Undoes Eight Years of Reagan

Four Years of Obama Undoes Eight Years of Reagan

 

Wow this graph really says it all.

The Labor Force Participation Rate shows what percentage of people are working, looking for a job and not looking for a job. It is a better yardstick to measure the workforce in America than is the usually cited “unemployment rate” which doesn’t count people who are so frustrated they stopped looking for a job.

The graph shows a huge upswing in labor participation through the Reagan years. George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush kept the numbers up in Reagan territory. Since Obama has taken over, he has wiped out the entirety of the Reagan gains.

Hat tip to www.ZeroHedge.com for the graph.

They also have an excellent piece on why the unemployment rate right now is really 11.6%, not the 8.1% the administration is claiming. Read it here.

Join Ricochet!
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 36 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Profile photo of Boymoose Inactive

    Great graphic. Thanks for pointing it out Mr. De Seno.

    Why don’t presidents use graphics like these in speeches?

    Mr. Robinson or Mr. Senik?

    Is it below the office of president?

    • #1
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:54 am
  2. Profile photo of Nathaniel Wright Inactive

    I would love to see an “adjusted” unemployment rate which uses the reduction — or increase — in the Labor Force Participation Rate to create a more accurate unemployment rate depiction. One could use December 2008 as “baseline” so that Bush’s unemployment rate at the end of his term becomes the baseline.

    • #2
    • May 4, 2012 at 7:59 am
  3. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    What happened before the 80’s? Was the labor participation rate in the 50’s and 60’s boom times also going up? I have some doubts as to how useful this graph is as a point against the O without knowing if the Reagan gains are unique or not. How do we know labor participation hasn’t dropped off significantly because of baby boomer retirements? 

    • #3
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:00 am
  4. Profile photo of dittoheadadt Member

    “The Labor Force Participation Rate shows what percentage of people are working or looking for a job. It is a better yardstick to measure the workforce in America than is the usually cited “unemployment rate” which doesn’t count people who are so frustrated they stopped looking for a job.”

    Not sure I understand the difference – sounds like they BOTH don’t count people who stopped looking for a job (e.g. the LFP rate apparently shows people working or looking for work, which by definition doesn’t include people “who are so frustrated they stopped looking for a job,” just as the “unemployment rate” doesn’t include those people, either).

    • #4
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:05 am
  5. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    dittoheadadt: Not sure I understand the difference – sounds like they BOTH don’t count people who stopped looking for a job (e.g. the LFP rate apparently shows people working or looking for work, which by definition doesn’t include people “who are so frustrated they stopped looking for a job,” just as the “unemployment rate” doesn’t include those people, either). · 4 minutes ago

    You are right I made a mistake in rushing to get it up. LFPR includes folks who have given up looking in the unemployed numbers where the UR does not.

    I fixed it in the text. Thanks for the edit!

    • #5
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:10 am
  6. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    I love the “explanation” this AM by folks like Mark Zandi re: the discouraged workers rate’s continued rise:

    1. States are ending extended unemployment benefits.
    2. To keep extended benefits, the unemployed must keep “looking” for work.
    3. Therefore, when extended benefits end, the unemployed stop “looking” for work and drop out of the workforce.

    Losing an income source… boy, that would be my signal to dial back on the ol’ job search!

    • #6
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:14 am
  7. Profile photo of Jager Member

    Here is a link that allows you to look at this data over a longer or shorter time frame.

    http://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet

    From the 60s to 1998 ish participation was going up. from 2004 to 2009 participation was flat. From 2009 to 2012 there is a step decline.

    • #7
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:17 am
  8. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    Valiuth: What happened before the 80’s? Was the labor participation rate in the 50’s and 60’s boom times also going up? I have some doubts as to how useful this graph is as a point against the O without knowing if the Reagan gains are unique or not. How do we know labor participation hasn’t dropped off significantly because of baby boomer retirements? · 10 minutes ago

    The available data goes back to 1948. No other President has had a significant and consistent drop like Obama. Kennedy had a drop. Even Carter had a gain.

    The numbers are damning to Obama. They are a mirror opposite of the Reagan gains, and every other Presdient’s gain, for that matter.

    Here’s a graph:

    Labor-Force-Since-1948.gif

    • #8
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:18 am
  9. Profile photo of Leporello Inactive

    It would be interesting to see the graph after removing mothers who used to work but now, because of the economy, have decided to stay home with their children. It shouldn’t disappoint us that these persons have stopped actively seeking a paycheck.

    • #10
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:27 am
  10. Profile photo of Valiuth Member
    Tommy De Seno
    Valiuth: What happened before the 80’s? Was the labor participation rate in the 50’s and 60’s boom times also going up? I have some doubts as to how useful this graph is as a point against the O without knowing if the Reagan gains are unique or not. How do we know labor participation hasn’t dropped off significantly because of baby boomer retirements? · 10 minutes ago

    The available data goes back to 1948. No other President has had a significant and consistent drop like Obama. Kennedy had a drop. Even Carter had a gain.

    The numbers are damning to Obama. They are a mirror opposite of the Reagan gains, and every other Presdient’s gain, for that matter.

    Here’s a graph: · 2 minutes ago

    Ok, that’s convincing.

    Is there any reason though to think that the aging baby boomers dropping out of the job market might make the graph go down naturally though? 

    • #11
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:30 am
  11. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    Valiuth
    Tommy De Seno
    Valiuth: What happened before the 80’s? Was the labor participation rate in the 50’s and 60’s boom times also going up? I have some doubts as to how useful this graph is as a point against the O without knowing if the Reagan gains are unique or not. How do we know labor participation hasn’t dropped off significantly because of baby boomer retirements? · 10 minutes ago

    The available data goes back to 1948. No other President has had a significant and consistent drop like Obama. Kennedy had a drop. Even Carter had a gain.

    The numbers are damning to Obama. They are a mirror opposite of the Reagan gains, and every other Presdient’s gain, for that matter.

    Here’s a graph: · 2 minutes ago

    Ok, that’s convincing.

    Is there any reason though to think that the aging baby boomers dropping out of the job market might make the graph go down naturally though? · 8 minutes ago

    The question is above my pay grade.

    I recall Ricochet has a resident economist. King Banaian. 

    Maybe he can help.

    • #12
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:41 am
  12. Profile photo of MBF Member
    MBF

    Whether it is a result of baby boomers retiring, or just an increase in the number of shiftless layabouts in their prime years, the trend is bad news.

    This goes beyond just the cost of public welfare benefits. What are the implications for our economy with millions of workers retiring and beginning to draw down their accumulated savings?

    • #14
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:45 am
  13. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    Mark Belling Fan: Whether it is a result of baby boomers retiring, or just an increase in the number of shiftless layabouts in their prime years, the trend is bad news.

    This goes beyond just the cost of public welfare benefits. What are the implications for our economy with millions of workers retiring and beginning to draw down their accumulated savings? · 8 minutes ago

    Great question MBF. Wouldn’t the draw down of savings generate spending and boost the economy?

    • #15
    • May 4, 2012 at 8:58 am
  14. Profile photo of Give Me Liberty Inactive

    I believe Baby Boomer retirement rates are at a slower pace than expected. One reason is the poor economy and another is that Boomers (as a group) did a poor job of saving for old age. Besides, wouldn’t retirements create job openings for those not working.

    • #16
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:05 am
  15. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    Give Me Liberty: I believe Baby Boomer retirement rates are at a slower pace than expected. One reason is the poor economy and another is that Boomers (as a group) did a poor job of saving for old age. Besides, wouldn’t retirements create job openings for those not working. · 1 minute ago

    Another interesting question.

    • #17
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:07 am
  16. Profile photo of Jager Member
    Tommy De Seno
    Mark Belling Fan: Whether it is a result of baby boomers retiring, or just an increase in the number of shiftless layabouts in their prime years, the trend is bad news.

    This goes beyond just the cost of public welfare benefits. What are the implications for our economy with millions of workers retiring and beginning to draw down their accumulated savings? · 8 minutes ago

    Great question MBF. Wouldn’t the draw down of savings generate spending and boost the economy? · 3 minutes ago

    There really shouldn’t be a boost in spending or the economy from drawing down savings. The savings are replacing the income/spending that used to come from wages. Retired people with a fixed amount of savings may even spend less.

    • #18
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:10 am
  17. Profile photo of MBF Member
    MBF
    Tommy De Seno
    Mark Belling Fan: Whether it is a result of baby boomers retiring, or just an increase in the number of shiftless layabouts in their prime years, the trend is bad news.

    This goes beyond just the cost of public welfare benefits. What are the implications for our economy with millions of workers retiring and beginning to draw down their accumulated savings? · 8 minutes ago

    Great question MBF. Wouldn’t the draw down of savings generate spending and boost the economy? · 12 minutes ago

    I only have two semesters of Econ under my belt, so I can’t answer that with certainty. My understanding is that production and savings are what grow an economy over long term periods. Spending down savings in order to consume is probably good for GDP numbers in the short term, until the stored wealth is spent.

    • #19
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:20 am
  18. Profile photo of Roberto Member
    Jager Retired people with a fixed amount of savings may even spend less. · 0 minutes ago

    I would call this a certainty. Retirees are on a fixed income and interest rates on money market accounts and yields on CDs are paltry. This is a class of saver that can’t afford to “bet everything on black” and all the standard investments that contain less risk are giving yields that barely keep up with inflation if they do at all.

    These folks can’t afford to be big spenders.

    • #20
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:26 am
  19. Profile photo of Valiuth Member
    Give Me Liberty: I believe Baby Boomer retirement rates are at a slower pace than expected. One reason is the poor economy and another is that Boomers (as a group) did a poor job of saving for old age. Besides, wouldn’t retirements create job openings for those not working. · 5 minutes ago

    Well those jobs might just be disappearing, rather than being filled by new workers. Think of manufacturing. Modern plants need less workers. Many of the old workers can’t be let go because of contractual obligations, but the jobs will go away through attrition. 

    • #21
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:27 am
  20. Profile photo of Valiuth Member
    Mark Belling Fan
    Tommy De Seno
    Mark Belling Fan: What are the implications for our economy with millions of workers retiring and beginning to draw down their accumulated savings? · 8 minutes ago

    Great question MBF. Wouldn’t the draw down of savings generate spending and boost the economy? · 12 minutes ago

    I only have two semesters of Econ under my belt, so I can’t answer that with certainty. My understanding is that production and savings are what grow an economy over long term periods. Spending down savings in order to consume is probably good for GDP numbers in the short term, until the stored wealth is spent. · 7 minutes ago

    Wont the consumption of good’s mean that the money now goes into the pockets of new people who will again put it back into savings? So old investments are just replaced by new ones. The money doesn’t evaporate it changes hands. Money that is not eventually spent is wasted, no?

    • #22
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:32 am
  21. Profile photo of Trace Inactive

    I have to call foul here. Obama can be blamed surely for not reversing the decline, but the most precipitous fall-off was surely brought about by circumstances that predated his inauguration. Technically these may have been in 2009 but those are not “his” to own. The argument is too easily dismissed when it does not acknowledge the shock that took place under Bush’s watch. Obama was given a two chamber majority for a reason after all. What he failed to do with that is on him, but let’s be intellectually honest here.

    • #23
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:39 am
  22. Profile photo of King Banaian Contributor

    I’ve added a few comments in a separate post, as I did not think it would fit here.

    • #24
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:40 am
  23. Profile photo of Give Me Liberty Inactive
    Valiuth
    Give Me Liberty: I believe Baby Boomer retirement rates are at a slower pace than expected. One reason is the poor economy and another is that Boomers (as a group) did a poor job of saving for old age. Besides, wouldn’t retirements create job openings for those not working. · 5 minutes ago

    Well those jobs might just be disappearing, rather than being filled by new workers. Think of manufacturing. Modern plants need less workers. Many of the old workers can’t be let go because of contractual obligations, but the jobs will go away through attrition. · 9 minutes ago

    Exactly, under the left, and to a lesser degree moderate Republicans, we have had a truly contracting economy. Putting more focus on what the government can do for you. When we had an expanding economy the same people told us that we had to reduce our growth, curtail our use of resources to save the planet. They never really explained what a smaller economy meant for all of us, especially “the poor.”

    • #25
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:42 am
  24. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    Trace Urdan: I have to call foul here. Obama can be blamed surely for not reversing the decline, but the most precipitous fall-off was surely brought about by circumstances that predated his inauguration. Technically these may have been in 2009 but those are not “his” to own. The argument is too easily dismissed when it does not acknowledge the shock that took place under Bush’s watch. Obama was given a two chamber majority for a reason after all. What he failed to do with that is on him, but let’s be intellectually honest here. · 3 minutes ago

    Bush’s fault. I think I’ve heard that sort of “intellectual honesty” enough over the past 4 years.

    • #26
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:45 am
  25. Profile photo of billy Member

    Maybe our economy just needs to learn to take its beating like a man.

    • #27
    • May 4, 2012 at 9:47 am
  26. Profile photo of MBF Member
    MBF
    Valiuth
    Mark Belling Fan
     

     

    I only have two semesters of Econ under my belt, so I can’t answer that with certainty. My understanding is that production and savings are what grow an economy over long term periods. Spending down savings in order to consume is probably good for GDP numbers in the short term, until the stored wealth is spent. · 7 minutes ago

    Wont the consumption of good’s mean that the money now goes into the pockets of new people who will again put it back into savings? So old investments are just replaced by new ones. The money doesn’t evaporate it changes hands. Money that is not eventually spent is wasted, no? · 24 minutes ago

    The money doesn’t evaporate, but the consumed product does. There has to be other workers in the labor force to replace the consumed product.

    I simply can’t imagine conceptually how it could be good for an economy that a significant portion of the population would shift from “producing and consuming” to simply “consuming”.

    • #28
    • May 4, 2012 at 10:13 am
  27. Profile photo of Leporello Inactive
    Trace Urdan: I have to call foul here. Obama can be blamed surely for not reversing the decline, but the most precipitous fall-off was surely brought about by circumstances that predated his inauguration… What he failed to do with that is on him, but let’s be intellectually honest here. 

    I’d say Obama and his party bear the blame, since they acted to foil any reform of Fannie and Freddie and residential lending requirements. They also favored government intervention in the market in general rather than letting free market competition reduce risks.

    I also blame Greenspan and the Fed, but Greenspan was appointed and re-appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents.

    To a lesser extent, I blame the credit ratings agencies and the banks, in that order. (Of course, the vast majority of those employees vote Democrat, at least in NYC.)

    I have no objection to laying the blame at the feet of Obama and his party.

    What is the argument that this was Bush’s fault? That he didn’t try hard enough to beat down the Democrats when they objected to his reforms of Fannie and Freddie?

    • #29
    • May 4, 2012 at 10:29 am
  28. Profile photo of dogsbody Inactive
    Tommy De Seno
    Trace Urdan: I have to call foul here. Obama can be blamed surely for not reversing the decline, but the most precipitous fall-off was surely brought about by circumstances that predated his inauguration. Technically these may have been in 2009 but those are not “his” to own. The argument is too easily dismissed when it does not acknowledge the shock that took place under Bush’s watch. Obama was given a two chamber majority for a reason after all. What he failed to do with that is on him, but let’s be intellectually honest here. · 3 minutes ago

    Bush’s fault. I think I’ve heard that sort of “intellectual honesty” enough over the past 4 years. · 44 minutes ago

    Tommy: with respect, I think Trace isn’t saying it’s Bush’s fault, but that the graph you posted shows a very steep drop just before Obama’s inauguration. This doesn’t exculpate Obama, but Trace’s point–I think–is that we should not extend his blame beyond what the data shows.

    Incidentally, could you give a link to the graph? Your first link is just to the Zero Hedge main page.

    • #30
    • May 4, 2012 at 10:34 am
  1. 1
  2. 2